Fiche Film
Cinéma/TV
LONG Métrage | 2017
Footprints
Anonyme
Pays concerné : Nigeria
Réalisateur(s) : Anonyme
Durée : 60
Genre : historique
Type : documentaire

Français

Footprints comprises rarely seen footage of Nigeria from the British Film Institutes’s National Archive. The origins of the British Film Institute’s collection have their roots in the colonial administration’s use of the film to document and often, propangandise colonial rule. As Nigeria’s regions gained self government, they also saw film as an integral part of promoting their newly independent status to the world.
British Council has researched the BFI’s collection of Nigerian Films, from both the colonial and the modern era and has digitised them. These will be presented to the public through the Footprints project.

Clips in the Collection are:
Africa’s Fighting Men,
Nigeria’s New Constitution,
Northern Provinces of Nigeria,
Southern Provinces of Nigeria,
and Beer at Its Best.

Film archive project from the British Council using footage from the BFI National Archive as part of the 2015-2016 UK-Nigeria Season. The films were shot from 1924 to 1993 and have been digitised especially for the Footprints project.
Topics covered include the palm oil industry in Southern Nigeria, the movement for independence, the creation of the 1952 constitution, Nigeria’s first police women, the birth of the beer industry in Nigeria, Nigerian footballers visiting England, cocoa farming, nursing, and African servicemen in World War Two.

Nigeria / Grande Bretagne, 2017, Documentaire, 1h00


Footprints trailer – the British Council’s Nigerian film archive project from British Council Film on Vimeo.




2017 | 7th iREP international Documentary Film Festival 2017, Lagos, Nigeria | 16-19 March 2017
* Selection – THE BRITISH COUNCIL ARCHIVE PROJECT FILM SCREENING
* Screening: THURSDAY MARCH 16, 2017 – 4:30pm, Freedom Park, Hospital Road, Broad Street, Lagos
http://irepfilmfestival.com/

2017 | The iREP Change- Monthly Documentary Screening, Lagos, Nigeria | 27 June 2017
* NIGERIA ARCHIVE FILM PROJECT
* Screening: Tuesday 27 June 2017 – 18:00 to 19:00, Freedom Park, Hospital Road, Broad Street, Lagos
www.britishcouncil.org.ng/events/footprints

English

Footprints comprises rarely seen footage of Nigeria from the British Film Institutes’s National Archive. The origins of the British Film Institute’s collection have their roots in the colonial administration’s use of the film to document and often, propangandise colonial rule. As Nigeria’s regions gained self government, they also saw film as an integral part of promoting their newly independent status to the world.
British Council has researched the BFI’s collection of Nigerian Films, from both the colonial and the modern era and has digitised them. These will be presented to the public through the Footprints project.

Clips in the Collection are:
Africa’s Fighting Men,
Nigeria’s New Constitution,
Northern Provinces of Nigeria,
Southern Provinces of Nigeria,
Beer at Its Best.

Nigeria / England, 2017, Documentary, 1hr00

AFRICA’S FIGHTING MEN
This film is held by the BFI (ID: 669511).
http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/180
Synopsis: An illustration of the role of African servicemen in the Second World War. The King’s African Rifles and the Royal West African Frontier Force are seen on manoeuvres in Ceylon, the Gold Coast regiment are shown building a ferry, and the Nigerian Artillery Regiment are seen carrying and assembling their weapons. In Freetown, Sierra Leone, anti-aircraft crews practise firing their weapons and sailors are shown receiving their preliminary training in physical exercise and squad drill. Pilot Officer Peter Thomas, the first African pilot with the Royal Air Force, is seen taking off, flying and landing his aircraft.
Context: In October 1943, a note in the journal Colonial Cinema explained that ‘Considerable progress has been made with the film on the African campaigns which is being compiled from library material’. As ‘a preliminary’, it added, ‘many thousands of feet of film received in this country from various sources were examined carefully for material suitable for this film’. The completed film, Africa’s Fighting Men, comprised entirely of items…
Analysis: As a film intended for African audiences, Africa’s Fighting Men sought to recognise the African war effort, encourage further African support for the War, and promote a message of continuing imperial interdependency. These messages are most explicitly revealed through the commentary, which outlines the ongoing efforts and support of the Africans in the war effort: ‘the people of Africa are doing excellent work to help the Allied cause both by the production of raw…
Works Cited
‘Complete Victory in Africa’, Colonial Cinema, October 1943, 4.
‘The Colonies Exhibition’, Colonial Cinema, December 1943, 3.
‘Africa’s Fighting Men (Sound)’, Colonial Cinema, January 1944, 4.
‘News Films’, Colonial Cinema, April 1944, 15.
Francis, Martin, The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force, 1939-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Kakembo, Robert, An African Soldier Speaks (London: Edinburgh House Press, 1946).
Lambo, Roger, ‘Achtung: The Black Prince: West Africans in the Royal Air Force, 1939-1946′ in David Killingray ed., Africans in Britain (London: Cass, 1994), 145-163.
Smyth, Rosaleen, ‘War Propaganda during the Second World War in Northern Rhodesia’, African Affairs, Volume 83, No. 332 (July 1984), 345-358.
Smyth, Rosaleen, ‘The British Colonial Film Unit and sub-Saharan Africa, 1939-1945′, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Volume 8, Issue 3 (1988), 285-298.
Title: AFRICA’S FIGHTING MEN
Year: 1943
Running Time: 14 minutes
Film Gauge (Format): 16mm Film
Colour: Black/White
Sound: Sound
Footage: 507 ft
Production Country: Great Britain
Sponsor: Ministry of Information
Production Company: Colonial Film Unit
Countries: Ceylon, Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
Themes: Empire at War
Genre: Non-fiction
Production Organisation: Colonial Film Unit
Events: Second World War

NIGERIA’S NEW CONSTITUTION
This film is held by the BFI (ID: 19819).
http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/53
Synopsis: THE ELECTIONS TO SET UP REGIONAL LEGISLATURES IN NORTHERN, EASTERN AND WESTERN NIGERIA; AND THE MEETING OF THE NEW LEGISLATURES AT KADUNA, ENUGU AND IBADAN.
Year: 1952
Film Gauge (Format): 16mm Film
Colour: Black/White
Sound: Sound
Footage: 674 ft
Production Country: Nigeria
Producer: SNAZELLE, Lionel
Commentary Writer: COOPER, Harold
Editor: BAINES, Geoffrey
Photography: LAGDEN, Fred
Production Company: Nigerian Film Unit

NORTHERN PROVINCES (NORTHERN PROVINCES OF NIGERIA)
This film is held by the BFI (ID: 21530).
http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/1833
Synopsis: Travelogue of the Northern Provinces of Nigeria, highlighting the contrast between old and new methods. The film shows the development of the railways, bridges and modern machinery, while also showing the traditional methods of local potters and glass-blowers.
Title: NORTHERN PROVINCES
Year: 1928
Film Gauge (Format): 35mm Film
Colour: Black/White
Sound: Silent
Production Country: Great Britain
Producer: BALL, Graham
Production Company: British Instructional Films
Country: Nigeria
Production Organisation: British Instructional Films

SOUTHERN PROVINCES OF NIGERIA
This film is held by the BFI (ID: 15168).
http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/488
Synopsis: Life and industries in Nigeria.
Title: SOUTHERN PROVINCES OF NIGERIA
Year: 1940
Colour: Black/White
Production Country: Great Britain
Production Company: New Era Films
Country: Nigeria

BEER AT ITS BEST
This film is held by the BFI (ID: 60573).
http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/1887
Synopsis: The making of Star lager from Nigeria.
The film opens with the Star lager trademark as local music plays. As three African men sit outside drinking Star lager, a close-up of a tray reveals the company logo. The voiceover states that’These gentlemen, typical of many thousands of satisfied customers, can tell you why they insist upon Star’. There are further close-ups of the beer being poured and then drunk. A sign reveals that that the beer won’First prize at the Brewers Competition in London in October 1954′.
Next, we go to the brewery on the Apapa road to see the’many wonderful processes that go into the making of Star, Beer at its Best’. The materials are transported to the factory, and then we see the modern machinery in operation. Malt is loaded into the malt store, the’skilled brewers’ carry out a final inspection, and the mashing process extracts the’goodness’ from the grain. Further quality tests are carried out in the laboratory. Hops and sugar are now added, producing wort, and this is followed by the’most intriguing process’, fermentation. The beer is then returned to air-conditioned cellars, while cases are made from’good African timber’. The bottling process is shown next, which the commentator notes is performed entirely by machinery. The process continues -‘8000 bottles per hour’ – while the finished product makes’its last journey, to the consumer’. As men drink the beer, the commentator addresses the viewer:’These gentlemen could tell you why they prefer Star, or you could find out for yourself. Have a Star this evening’. The film concludes with a further shot of the Star logo.
Context: On 14 July 1949, the Nigerian Brewery Limited produced its first bottle of Star lager at Iganmu, Lagos. Until this point Nigeria had relied on imported beer (bringing in 2,387,681 gallons in 1949) as the colony had no substantial manufacturing sector. Historian Simon Heap noted that in 1950 the sector accounted for only 0.45% of GNP, ‘the smallest proportion of any country in the world producing data’ (Heap, 1996, 70). The colonial economy had instead been founded on commerce, and as import liquor duties had traditionally helped to fund its administration, the government had little interest in home production or in promoting industry through subsidies or tariff protection.
The immediate post-war period saw the introduction of the ‘Ten Year Plan of Development and Welfare for Nigeria’ in 1946 and an increasing attempt by the British administration to establish import-substitution industries in Nigeria. Nigeria already had two successful import substitution industries, in The West African Soap Company and British-American Tobacco, which had run a factory in Nigeria since 1933, but the administration now sought to increase domestic production (Heap, 1996, 80). Jeremiah I. Dibua argues that this policy was ‘essentially a market protection strategy’, as the United States now championed ‘an open door policy in the colonies’ so that her firms would be able to compete for these markets (Dibua, 2006, 77). Simon Heap emphasises the influence of the war in instigating this policy shift. ‘It would take’, Heap argued, ‘the drastic supply shortages experienced during the Second World War for far more positive colonial policies on the advantages to be gained by encouraging an alcohol import substitution industry’ (Heap, 1996, 84).
Heap further argues that the establishment of a Nigerian brewery was not a ‘conscious effort to develop the economy’ but rather an attempt ‘by some foreign merchant firms to protect and promote their interest in the growing domestic market’ (Heap, 1996, 82). Nigeria Brewery Limited was formed by the leading beer importers in 1946 and it was these importers – such as John Holt and Company and UAC (United Africa Company) – that developed this domestic production. By 1955 Nigerian Breweries Ltd was producing 1,762,000 gallons of beer, although it still imported over three times this amount. Within another ten years, it would produce almost 13 million gallons and import less than 500,000 gallons, so that, as Simon Heap recognised, within twenty years, Nigeria had ‘almost entirely substituted one of its previously largest import trades’ (Heap, 1996, 83, 85).
Beer at Its Best was produced by the Lagos-based company Niger Films. Owned until the mid-1980s by John Williamson, Niger Films was a British company, which produced advertising and documentary films during the 1950s (Balogun, 1987, 47). Star Lager was launched with the advertising campaign ‘Ah, Star – Beer at its Best’ and was one of the first brands in Nigeria to be advertised in the cinema (Newswatch, 1989, 28).
Analysis: Beer at its Best serves as an advertising film for Nigerian Breweries but it also illustrates a move towards industrialisation and large-scale domestic production within post-war colonial Nigeria.
The film’s advertising strategies are fairly blatant. There are the repeated close ups of the Star logo, the oft-quoted tagline ‘Star – Beer at its Best’ and the commentator’s direct address to the viewer and consumer; ‘Maybe this load is going to you’, ‘Have a Star this evening’, ‘this process is to ensure that your Star beer comes to you pure, fresh and mature’. The film is evidently intended primarily for its African consumers – for example, the film shows African men drinking the beer – yet in appealing to this audience, it emphasises the European influences within the industry.
On two occasions, the film notes the success of Star at the Brewers Competition in London, highlighting the beer’s validation from Britain, while the commentator also explains that ‘we use only the finest selected raw materials imported from Europe’, proven over hundreds of years ‘in the biggest and best Continental breweries’. The film acknowledges the superiority of British industrial methods, and attempts to show this local Nigerian industry (cases are made ‘from good African timber’) operating within an established western industrial model.
While the Colonial regime had promoted import-substitution industries after the war, its initial development plan in 1946 had prioritised local agricultural industries and noted the importance of developing the colony’s human resources. However, by the 1950s the Nigerian elite argued for the development of Nigeria’s basic heavy industries, and certainly this film celebrates this move towards industrialisation. While acknowledging the ‘skilled brewers’ and the laboratory work, the film favours the equipment and the industrial process over the individual workers. The workers are often on the edge of the frame, or only partially shown, while the commentator repeatedly notes the ‘modern machines’, ‘a wonderful conveyor system’, ‘the electric crane’. The film positively welcomes the lack of human involvement – ‘look no hammer’, ‘these are foaming beers coming untouched from our cellars’, ‘still no hands’ – aligning the company with an industrial modernity, which is celebrated as an entirely positive development. The symmetry and ongoing nature of the process is elegantly photographed, most notably as the beer bottles pass along the conveyor belt. ‘Out they come, like soldiers on parade’, the commentator states, later adding ‘On go the bottles, like soldiers on the march now’. While the beer bottles are anthropormorphised, the workers are largely dehumanised as this sponsored documentary celebrates the machinery within this modern industrial process.
Tom Rice (October 2009)
Works Cited
* Balogun, Françoise, Cinema in Nigeria (Enugu: Delta Publications, 1987).
* Dibua, Jeremiah I., Modernization and the Crisis of Development in Africa: the Nigerian Experience (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2006).
* Ekwuazi, Hyginus and Yakubu Abdullahi Nasidi, Operative Principles of the Film Industry: Towards a Film Policy for Nigeria (Jos: Nigerian Film Corporation, 1992).
* Heap, Simon, ‘Before « Star »: The Import Substitution of Western-Style Alcohol in Nigeria, 1870-1970′, African Economic History, No. 24, 1996, 69-89.
* ‘Star and its Advertising’, Newswatch, Volume 9, 1989, 26.
Title: BEER AT ITS BEST
Year: 1955
Running Time: 14 minutes
Film Gauge (Format): 16mm Film
Colour: Colour
Sound: Sound
Footage: 518 ft
Production Country: Nigeria
Sponsor: Nigerian Brewery
Production Company: Niger Films
Country: Nigeria
Themes: Empire and Industry
Genre: Industrial Films


Films from the British Film Institute, the Imperial War Museum, and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum.


Themes: Empire and Independence
Genre: Non-fiction
Production Organisation: Nigerian Film Unit


2017 | 7th iREP international Documentary Film Festival 2017, Lagos, Nigeria | 16-19 March 2017
* Selection – THE BRITISH COUNCIL ARCHIVE PROJECT FILM SCREENING (The five films that comprise the FOOTPRINTS: Africa’s Fighting Men, Nigeria’s New Constitution, Northern Provinces of Nigeria, Southern Provinces of Nigeria, and Beer at Its Best).
* Screening: THURSDAY MARCH 16, 2017 – 4:30pm, Freedom Park, Hospital Road, Broad Street, Lagos
http://irepfilmfestival.com/

2017 | The iREP Change- Monthly Documentary Screening, Lagos, Nigeria | 27 June 2017
* NIGERIA ARCHIVE FILM PROJECT (Clips in the Collection to be screened are Nigeria’s New Constitution, Northern Provinces of Nigeria, Southern Provinces of Nigeria).
* Screening: Tuesday 27 June 2017 – 18:00 to 19:00, Freedom Park, Hospital Road, Broad Street, Lagos
www.britishcouncil.org.ng/events/footprints